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Posted by James Briggs on January 22, 2004

In Reply to: Wallop/Wollop posted by Henry on January 22, 2004

: : : : : codswollop

: : : : That posting is mostly correct I think. The wallop part isn't though - that was a term for beer lomg before Mr Codd.

: : : Which spelling/

: : : Interesting thought - the part of Belgium near Brussels is called Wallonia and the language Walloon. That area has a long and distinguished history of brewing - is there some link between the idea of Wallop and Walloon?

: : Merriam-Webster online says:

: : One entry found for codswallop.
: :
: : Main Entry: cods·wal·lop
: : Pronunciation: 'kodz-"wä-l&p, 'kädz-
: : Function: noun
: : Etymology: origin unknown
: : Date: 1963
: : British : NONSENSE

: As far as I know it was a patent medicine in Britain in the late 1800s/early
: 1900s. I think it was a kind of cod liver oil or something that purported to
: be good for you (and no doubt tasted vile) but actually had no effect
: whatsoever. Anyways, as a result Cod's Wallop as it was known colloquially,
: became a kind of byword for stuff that was supposed to be good but wasn't,
: if you see what I mean. It's all a load of Cod's Wallop!

This one does have a drinking background. Wallop is a still current expression for beer; it was certainly in use in the 19th century. In 1872 a certain Victorian businessman called Codd went into the manufacture of lemonade. It was sold in green glass bottles sealed with glass marble stoppers and was jokingly called Codd's wallop. Its poor quality, when compared to beer, although not perhaps with other lemonades, gave rise to the derogatory implications of the phrase.